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Bangsamoro process gets under way; Iqbal upbeat

The Transition Commission, the body mandated to draft the Bangsamoro Basic Law, will  conduct consultations in all communities that will be affected by the planned abolition of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

The basic law, once enacted, will pave the way for a new autonomous political entity in Mindanao to be called Bangsamoro as an offshoot of the peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

“If possible, the last man and last woman will be consulted because we want the people to own the process, to own the basic law,” TC chairman and MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal said.

“This is for peace: for our people, for Mindanao and for the Philippines so I don’t see any reason why people or Congress will reject the basic law,” he stressed.

According to commission member Johaira Wahab, the provinces of Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi, as part of the Bangsamoro core territory, will be included in the consultations.

Under the framework agreement, the Bangsamoro will have for its core territory the present composition of the ARMM.

The new political entity will also include the municipalities of Baloi, Munai, Nunungan, Pantar, Tagoloan and Tangkal in the province of Lanao del Norte and all other barangays in the municipalities of Kabacan, Carmen, Aleosan, Pigkawayan, Pikit, and Midsayap that voted for inclusion in the ARMM during the 2001 plebiscite; and the cities of Cotabato and Isabela.

President Benigno Aquino III earlier said he wants the basic law to be enacted by 2015, with an interim authority in place a year before the next national elections.

“We need the organic act enacted into law by 2015. This will be passed through Congress and approved in a plebiscite and we hope to install the new government with a mandate after 2016 elections. There will be an interim authority from 2015 to 2016,”  Aquino said.

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